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I wonder: Why are there these two commands on Debian Linux, with very similar names and functionality? This has always been confusing for me.

  • Is any of them superior to another?
  • Why aren't they merged into one?
  • Is there any significant difference between them?
  • Which one should I use? Or does it depend on a use case?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 34 down vote accepted

useradd is native binary compiled with the system. But, adduser is a perl script which uses useradd binary in back-end.

adduser is more user friendly and interactive than its back-end useradd. There's no difference in features provided.

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wow, wonderful explanation :p – Silver Moon Nov 29 '14 at 7:03


At the end, all I can say for sure is that different operating systems have adduser as an alternative to useradd whose functionality is distro-specific. It can be just a simple alias to useradd or a script with additional options.

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